Archives provinciales du Nouveau-Brunswick

Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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WILLIAMS, WILLIAM J. (1831-1891)

WILLIAMS, WILLIAM J., photographer and painter; b. England, 1831; m. 1864, Mrs. Annie Bynel, a native of Nova Scotia, d. Campbellton, N.B., 24 Oct 1891.

William J. Williams, his wife, and eldest child arrived in New Brunswick from Halifax around 1869. In 1871, he was advertising his services as a "photographer and general artist" in Newcastle. Notices in which he was described as photographer, artist, and photo gallery operator appeared throughout the 1870s. In 1877, he opened a new "Likeness Saloon," in which he had frames, moldings, brackets, and the like for sale. The previous year, he also launched one of Newcastle's first restaurants. This was situated on the public wharf, and later near the railway station.

Williams took a series of photographs of a huge log jam at the Southwest Miramichi railway bridge in the spring of 1881, in reference to which the Miramichi Advance described him as one of the best landscape photographers in the province. The photographs were being sold at his restaurant in Newcastle that summer, and in Chatham. In the fall, he announced the opening of a photo gallery and framing shop in Chatham, but he soon wound up his affairs on the Miramichi and moved to Campbellton. Prints of the log jam which he sold from there are inscribed, somewhat enigmatically, as the work of "W. J. Williams, of Riviere du Loup, P.Q., and Campbellton, N.B., photographer to His Grace the Duke of Beaufort."

Williams was enumerated as a painter in the census of 1891 for Campbellton, a few months prior to his death, and also in the probate records of his estate. He died intestate, leaving property valued at $3,000. He was survived by a son and a daughter, as well as his wife, who later kept a boarding house in Campbellton.


[b] census [m] N.S. vital records [d] PANB (probate files) / Advance 9 Jun 1881, 8 Dec 1881; Advocate 18 Oct 1871 (ad), 7 Jan 1874 (ad), 2 Feb 1876, 9 May 1877, 8 Jun 1881; Parker (photograph of log jam)